UAE residents can see Mars, lunar eclipse by naked eye

UAE residents can see Mars, lunar eclipse by naked eye

Dubai - Front row seats to the best astronomical show in the skies.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Fri 27 Jul 2018, 4:15 PM

Last updated: Sat 28 Jul 2018, 2:36 AM

Today, the world is set to witness one of the longest total lunar eclipses of the century.
According to Time magazine, the UAE is among the top 5 places in the world to watch the spectacular astronomical phenomenon happening tonight:

With the Middle East almost in the centre of the event, the UAE has one of the "best seats in the house", according to a local astronomer. But for the flat-earthers (people who think the world is flat), it may be a disappointing day.
Hasan Al Hariri, CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group CEO, added that UAE residents will also be blessed to see a special approach of the red planet, Mars. The conjunction of the moon with Mars will also be visible during the event of lunar eclipse.

The 2018 Mars appearance will be the second brightest in last 60,000 years after 2003. The next opportunity will come after 17 years, in 2035.
"During the eclipse, the shadow of the earth will be covering the moon. Now as the shadow comes up, you will clearly see it is not a straight line, it is curvey; a rounded shadow for a round object. So let me ask one question: can the earth be flat with a curved shadow? I think not. The flat earthers will love me for that one... not!" Al Hariri told Khaleej Times.

At 11.30pm on Friday evening, earth will pass between the moon and sun, with the sun projecting the earth's shadow onto the moon. While many residents are preparing to head to the Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre in Mushrif Park to witness the rare sight, Hariri said timing is everything for this 21st century astronomical treat.

"The lunar eclipse will last one hour and 43 minutes in total. Most eclipses last less than one hour, sometimes even 15-20 minutes only so this will be a spectacle. The full eclipse will be at approximately 12.21am, the maximum viewing time. It will end at 1.13am."

On January 31 this year, another total lunar eclipse took place, but it was not really visible in most of the UAE. But this year, it will be visible for all here to see.

"This is one of the best events we are going to observe. It will be an amazing sight. As a group, it will give us the chance to educate the people on how celestial events happen and hopefully it will encourage people to study and see how astronomy works."

Unlike when meteor showers are expected, Hariri said this time around here is no need for people to travel out to dimly lit spots to witness the lunar eclipse.

"This moon event is bright so there is no need to travel out. Open lawns, rooftops, any spot in the city will work as a viewing spot. In fact, I would discourage travelling to the deserts at night during the summer months as it can be dangerous."

The group will be holding its own event at Mushrif Park in Dubai.

"We have lots of activities happening on Friday. We will have a gathering of group members and the public and we will display the whole event in detail, explaining the geometry of the lunar eclipse and why this is one of the best of the century. We will have telescopes on site to view the event a little more close up and we will also be live streaming the eclipse to the York Astronomical Society in the UK too."

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